Imprisoned: The Los Angeles Unified School District claims that a 14-year-old girl who had a six-month sexual relationship with teacher Elkis Hermida (pictured), 28, was mature enough to consent to the romance. Attorney W. Keith Wyatt (right) was fired because of remarks he made during the case.
- Girl, 14, had six-month relationship with math teacher Elkis Hermida, 28
- In 2011, Hermida was jailed for three years for lewd acts against a child
- W. Keith Wyatt was fired for arguing she agreed to the relationship
- General counsel said he had made inappropriate remarks during case
- Recently, girl filed civil case against Los Angeles Unified School District
- Alleged district was negligent and she had been emotionally damaged
- In defense, LAUSD said victim bore some responsibility for relationship
- Also mentioned girl's sexual history and said she was mature enough
- Judge ruled in favor of district; student's lawyer is now appealing case
A California school district has fired an attorney who successfully defended it during a case claiming a 14-year-old girl was mature enough to consent to a romance with her 28-year-old teacher.
In civil court proceedings, the Los Angeles Unified School District argued that the unnamed student should bear some responsibility for her relationship with Elkis Hermida. The district's general counsel said Friday it is removing attorney W. Keith Wyatt from future legal matters because of inappropriate remarks he made about the case.
Lawyers and advocates for sexual abuse victims criticized Wyatt's strategy of blaming the schoolgirl for agreeing to the sexual relationship
In July 2011, Hermida, who taught at Thomas Edison Middle School, was sentenced to three years in state prison after being convicted of lewd acts against a child. He has since been freed. However the school was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Speaking of the victim's 'responsibility' for the relationship, Keith Wyatt, LAUSD's attorney, told the public radio station KPCC
: 'She lied to her mother so she could have sex with her teacher.
'She went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn't she be responsible for that?'
Recently, the girl filed a civil lawsuit against the school district, claiming the system was negligent and she had been emotionally traumatized by Hermida's actions. In its defense, LAUSD argued it had been unaware of the relationship between the student and her teacher, but cited a federal court decision saying a minor could consent to sex in some situations.
During the trial, Mr Wyatt also introduced the girl's sexual history and argued that she bore some of the responsibility for the half-year-long relationship, according to CBS Local
At the end of the case, the judge ruled in favor of the district: LAUSD was cleared of wrongdoing by a civil jury, while the girl was not awarded any damages for the trauma she allegedly suffered.